Maternity Leave (Women’s Health)

Maternity leave refers to the temporary period of absence from employment granted to expectant, that a new mother takes off from work during the months immediately before and after childbirth. Maternity leave is usually created from a variety of benefits that include sick leave, vacation, holiday time, personal days, short-term disability and unpaid family leave time. These policies are important in supporting the mother’s full recovery from childbirth and enhancing a stronger bond between mother and child. (American Pregnancy Association, 2016)

There are two most notable laws protecting pregnant women are the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act has been introduced in 1978 by United States federal statute to give opportunity to pregnant women for same rights as others with “medical conditions” by prohibiting job discrimination. The Act covers discrimination “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” Furthermore, it only applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

With this act, employer cannot fire and force the pregnant women to take mandatory maternity leave. The employee also allowed to work as long as she can perform the job. During the leave, the employee will continue to accrue seniority and remain eligible for pay increases and benefits. This is a discrimination law that protects women from being treated differently than other employees which is good. Depending on the company, some employers will provide maternity leaves with paid but some will not. For instance, in the United States, only 11% of Americans employed by private industry have access to paid family leave. (Family Education, 2000)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was introduced in 1993. This Act applies to companies that employ 50 or more people within a 120 kilometre radius of the workplace. If they have been employed for at least one year by the company they work for, and work at least 25 hours a week, they can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in any 12-month period for the birth of their baby. All 12 weeks of maternity leave can be taken at the same time or they can be broken up over the course of the year before or after the birth of their baby. The laws regarding work and pregnancy have been written in response to a strong need for fairness. (Family Education, 2000) Having a baby, or caring for an adopted child, also falls under this category.

There are two types of maternity leave which are Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) and Additional Maternity Leave (AML). OML available for 26 weeks leave for all employees and have rights to return to the same job with correct regulations. All women employees are entitled to OML from day one of their employment. It does not depend on how long they have worked for the employer. If they work under an agency or do casual work, they can still get maternity pay.

The earliest ordinary maternity leave is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth which is about 29 weeks pregnant. They can decide the date when to stop and start working after the baby is born. Secondly, the additional maternity leave which lasts for 26 weeks and starts on the day after the end of OML with correct notice to the employer. Up to 13 weeks of this leave will be paid, however the final 13 weeks of AML will remain unpaid. (Ask Baby, 2016)

In Malaysia, the paid maternity leave is available within 14 weeks compare to United States which have unpaid maternity leave. Under the 1955 Malaysia Employment Act, the pregnant women entitled to at least 60 consecutive days of maternity leave at full pay as long as they have been worked for at least 90 days in the four months before starting maternity leave. Additionally, the Act is applied to Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan only. For Sabah and Sarawak, they are governed by their respective Labour Ordinance. (Smart Investor, 2016)

Maternity leaves can be classified with paid and unpaid by the employers. Most of the countries will pay and give consideration for the maternity leave but the periods of leave given are different. Focusing on United States regarding the maternity leave that is never paid, there are several impacts that bring advantages to the pregnant employee.

After childbirth, the women employee that could not stay on leave longer and have to continue their profession will affect their child’s health and development. Maternity leaves help the mothers to care and allow them to better monitor the health of their child. Without it, they become attuned to their child’s health needs and are more effectively able to respond to any medical circumstances. Studies have shown that an additional week of maternity leave among industrialized countries reduces infant mortality rates by 0.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. (Wikipedia, 2016)

There is also a positive correlation between maternal leave and the duration of breast-feeding. Breast-feeding is good to practice by the mothers within 6 months after the childbirth which means mothers who are not involved in employment are more regularly able to participate in breast-feeding. Breast-feeding is vital to yield substantial health improvements in disease prevention and immune system build-up of the child. Besides, unemployed mothers are able to allocate substantially more time towards the educational and cognitive development of their child.

After birth, maternity leave may affect the amount of time a child spends with his mother rather than in non-maternal care. Maternity leave will also affect the quality of time the child spends with the mother, depending on changes to her stress level and her satisfaction with the trajectory of her career. The quantity and quality of time a mother spends with her child in his first year of life matter for the child’s well-being. (Maya Rossin, 2011) The mother and child can spend more time together in generating intellectual environments. The longer the maternal care of the mother, the lessen the problematic behaviors during child growth. Reports have indicated mothers’ ability to foster a more stable and nurturing home environment than their non-maternal care-taking counterparts. (Wikipedia, 2016)

Other than that, maternity leave may reduce maternal health during pregnancy and increases their risk in getting postpartum depression. If a woman is forced to work more hours during pregnancy would heightened her stress level. The stress of maintaining this balance has also been shown to weaken their immune systems and interact poorly with their psychological state.

The unpaid maternity leave may exert an effect on the mother’s income and therefore the family’s material resources available for child rearing. Not all new mothers may be able to take advantage of unpaid leave, and it may have different implications for the welfare of children depending on whether they grow up in low-income and low-educated one-parent households or high-income and high-educated two-parent households, as these families likely face different constraints. (Maya Rossin, 2011)

This will result in many low-income women who have a baby to choose either to sacrifice their health to maintain their family’s economic security or to risk their economic security for the sake of their family’s health. When women don’t receive paid maternity leave, research has shown that they are more likely to drop out of the workforce, therefore losing income for themselves and their families. About 43% of women with children leave work voluntarily at some point in their careers. Non-working adults aged 25 to 54 in the United States showed that 61% of women said family responsibilities were why they weren’t working, compared to 37% of men. (Lyndsey Gilpin, 2015)

Countries such as Russia, Mongolia and Uzbekistan are the longest maternity leave provided with paid. Paid maternity leave is beneficial too in economics also health effects to both mothers and children. When it comes to the economic benefit of paid leave, researchers have found it benefits women economically because they tend to go back to work and stay with the same employer, which means their wages grow at a faster rate afterward.

There are also savings when it comes to turnover and training costs for businesses. It can reduce infant mortality and increases the likelihood of infants getting well-baby care visits and vaccinations, with one study finding that children were 25.3% and 22.2% more likely to get their measles and polio vaccines, respectively, when their mother had access to paid maternity leave. Without paid leave, there was no increase in immunizations. (Kelly Wallace and Jen Christensen, 2015) The rate of duration of breast-feeding can be lengthen and babies are less likely to get a variety of infections and are also at lower risk for asthma, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome. There are advantages to the mothers too, as women who breast-feed are less likely to get breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

To overcome those problems, the responsible agencies should pay attention and provide support for the enactment and continuation of maternity leave policies in their country. Unlike men, women who have children must take at least some time off from working during childbirth. Hence policies that ensure their job security during this time period are crucial for women’s careers, health, and overall well-being. The incidence of poor birth outcomes and infant mortality is higher among women from lower socio-economic backgrounds, maternity leave policies that cover mothers and children from all backgrounds may result in much greater benefits that could outweigh the extra costs from covering more working women. Children of poor, single and low-educated working mothers are a key vulnerable population that was not reached by the FMLA.

As the conclusion, maternity leave brings a lot of advantages especially to the mothers that are working as well as their children. However, these children and their families may benefit the most from policies that enable their mothers to take time off work during their early life without substantial losses in income. These mothers are often forced to work immediately after childbirth, and their new born children are then placed in low-quality childcare. Their children already stand at a disadvantage for their later-life opportunities as they are born into low socio-economic status families, and lack of maternal time during their first few months of life may exacerbate this disadvantage. (Maya Rossin, 2011)

Thus, if policymakers are concerned with decreasing disparities in child health and well-being between children of different backgrounds, they need to consider the fact that an unpaid maternity leave policy may actually increase disparities because it only benefits those mothers who can afford to take it. On the other hand, paid maternity leave policies may allow poor, single and working mothers to care for their new born children at home, to seek prompt medical care when needed, and to develop a closer bond with them, thereby saving their lives and improving their life chances from the start.


Lima Elemen Humor dalam Ayurveda

Ayurveda merupakan sistem perubatan India yang telah diturunkan dari kitab suci Veda dan telah dikembangkan sejak 2000 tahun sebelum Masihi. Dalam bahasa Sanskrit, sistem ini dikenali sebagai Pancha Maha Bhuta (Pancha bermaksud Lima, Maha pula bermaksud besar, dan Bhuta bererti Elemen). (Kimmana Nichols, 2014) Ayurveda mempercayai bahawa lima elemen ini adalah Ether, Udara, Api, Air dan Bumi yang membentuk alam semesta serta tubuh badan manusia. (Aleysius H. Gondosari, 2009) Sistem lima elemen Ayurveda ini hanya sederhana dengan mempraktikkan keseimbangan dalam aspek kehidupan. Kelemahan dan kekuatan dlam diri dapat dikenalpasti melalui sistem ini dapat membantu menyeimbangkan diet serta gaya hidup. (Kimmana Nichols, 2014)

Lima sistem ini membentuk dasar-dasar kehidupan dan membuat perbandingan terhadap alam semesta. Sistem lima elemen Ayurveda ini menekankan keseimbangan pada tiga Doshas iaitu Vata (angin, semangat dan udara), patta (hempedu) and kapha (cecair dari badan). Kaedah rawatan biasanya melalui yoga, meditasi dan juga urutan badan. Hal ini dapat membantu dalam menjaga etika, kegiatan harian termasuk aktiviti seksual, penjagaan diet seimbang serta kebersihan diri. Perubatan Ayurveda menggunakan tumbuh-tumbuhan sebagai sumber ubat-ubatan.

Ether atau “akasha” dalam Bahasa Sanskrit, adalah elemen utama daripada lima elemen humor Ayurveda. Hal ini kerana ether merupakan yang paling halus, meliputi keseluruhan ruang di alam semesta. Ini disebabkan semua material di alam semesta mengandungi ether malah berkemungkinan setiap modifikasi material berasal daripada ether. Ether sering dirujuk sebagai “ruang” yang merupakan asas kepada kekosongan. Ether berasal daripada shabda iaitu mantra dalam bentuk bunyi. Bunyi mewakili seluruh spektrum getaran. Ether membantu memenuhi ruangan kehidupan dalam aspek fizikal dan emosi. (Dr. Marc Halpern, 1995)

Elemen yang seterusnya yang datangnya daripada ether merupakan udara, juga dikenali sebagai “vayu”. Elemen ini berprinsipkan pergerakan atau mewakili tenaga kinetik yang mewakili semua daya serta gerakan terbentuk daripada kuasa-kuasa. Elemen udara adalah titik awal di mana elemen mulai memiliki arah dan tujuan iaitu idea untuk bergerak dari satu arah ke suatu arah. Asal usul udara adalah daripada sparsha yang berkait rapat dengan sentuhan yang mana udara dan sentuhan tidak dapat dipisahkan. Udara bercirikan mudah mengalir, sejuk, ringan, kering, kasar, halus, tajam, jelas dan keras. Walaupun udara halus namun dapat dirasai melalui sentuhan. Dalam tubuh badan, udara adalah asas bagi semua tindak balas pemindahan tenaga. Udara amat penting untuk kestabilan diri sejurus mengawal pengaliran darah, pernafasan serta sistem saraf. Elemen ini juga membantu dalam menggerakkan tubuh badan.

Elemen yang ketiga merupakan api atau “agni” yang berprinsipkan transformasi dan metabolisme. Api berkuasa untuk mengubah sesuatu pepejal kepada cecair atau gas dan kembali semula ke bentuk asal. Dalam erti kata lain, api mempunyai kuasa untuk mengubah keadaan sesuatu bahan. Elemen api mewakili kapisiti haba dan cahaya. Api adalah penjana tenaga dalam badan seperti matahari yang merupakan penjana tenaga kepada bumi. Tenaga suria juga merupakan sumber kepada api. Proses pembakaran akan berlaku dengan membebaskan tenaga dari sumbernya. Api wujud dalam bentuk cahaya, haba panas, kering, kasar, halus, mengalir, tajam, jelas serta lembut. Udara membantu api dalam proses pembakaran. Dalam tubuh badan manusia, elemen api membantu dalam proses penghadaman makanan, meningkatkan metabolisme, menyihatkan kulit serta membakar lemak.

Selain itu, air atau “jala” berprinsipkan transportasi. Air merupakan pelarut universal kerana kemampuannya untuk melarutkan sesuatu bahan. Air adalah pelindung tubuh badan sebagai khasiat yang paling asas. Elemen air ini sejuk, stabil, berat, lembab, licin, kasar, mengalir dan lembut. Air amat penting dalam proses penghidratan tubuh badan, menstabilkan suhu badan serta mengekalkan kelembapan kulit. Semua kehidupan di bumi amat memerlukan air untuk hidup. Sebahagian besar tubuh badan manusia diperbuat daripada air termasuklah darah, limfa dan cecair-cecair lain.

Elemen yang terakhir ialah bumi atau “prithvi” dalam bahasa Sanskrit. Unsur bumi merupakan perkara yang kukuh dan struktur alam semesta. Bumi memberi bentuk tubuh badan manusia dan semua ciptaan. Semua unsur-unsur yang lahir daripada ether terkandung di dalam bumi. Dalam tubuh badan manusia, bahagian-bahagian seperti tulang, gigi, sel-sel dan tisu-tisu adalah manifestasi daripada bumi. Jadi, bumi merupakan elemen yang paling stabil. Bumi bercirikan padat, keras dan kasar.

Secara keseluruhannya,Ayurveda berfungsi berdasarkan petua daripada pelbagai bahan yang terkandung dalam sayur-sayuran, dan zat-zat mineral yang mempunyai khasiat perubatan yang tertentu. Khasiat perubatan dalam bahan-bahan tersebut di dokumentasikan oleh pengamal dan telah digunakan untuk mengubat penyakit dalam tubuh badan. Perubatan Ayurveda dihasilkan daripada ramuan herba dengan sendiri atau mengunakan kombinasi mineral lain untuk tujuan perubatan.

Kini, Ayurveda mula mendapat sambutan di negara barat namun kebanyakkan kajian mengenai Ayurveda dilakukan di India. Kajian menunjukkan perubatan ini berkesan dalam merawat banyak penyakit termasuk ketidakhadaman, masalah kulit dan ginekologi. Teknik Ayurveda dikatakan berkesan dalam membantu masalah sengau, sistem penghadaman yang lembap dan tekanan. Rawatan akan ditujukan untuk mengembalikan keharmonian ataupun keseimbangan kepada sistem badan dan minda.

Why Disabled Children Need to Go to School?

Disability of children means a child that considered as a disabled person in which he or she has a medical determinable physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations. World has reported that one billion people in the world are facing and living with disability with at least one out of ten of them are children. Disability affects hundreds of millions of families in especially in developing countries. Children with disabilities are said to be experienced inequalities in their daily lives and have fewer opportunities to access a quality education unlike children that are normal. There are several types of disabilities in a child such as autism, deafness, intellectual disability, blindness, mental illness, speech-language disorders, physical disability and many more.

Children with disabilities are normally has difficulties in learning in one or more areas of the curriculum. These difficulties may vary in nature, cause, intensity and time. These children have diverse abilities and learning needs. They have been diagnosed with learning disabilities struggle so much during schools in order to achieve their dreams of who they want to be someday; as all of us do the same. Three common classes or school that usually can be applied by these disabled students are regular classes, support classes and special schools. With these learning disabilities, they might have better guaranteed future.

Majority of disabled children have been educated in special schools for over the century, excluded from their non-disabled peers. It is only in the last 30 years that this has started to change as more disabled children have been increasingly been given the right to a mainstream education as this form of apartheid is slowly exposed and removed. How can disabled children pursue their studies? Does school meant to them? Why don’t they just stay at home instead of going to school? There are a lot of questions to be answered but I would like to focus to only one of hundreds which is “Why disabled children need to go to school?”

From the articles that I have taken in some journals, the first point is children with disabilities could learn on how to manage their behaviour from school. Disabled children especially will learn well from having behaviour modelled. The teachers in school will help them to improve their actions, reactions and responses towards a thing or situation; oriented in helping the child to develop positive self-management skills. This is because they are not capable in noticing the good and the bad without being taught. They will learn on how to be more discipline from specialists or teachers. Here in school, common characteristics of children with disabilities in various categories are described. Early learning disabilities should be proposed to them in young age.

Do you want to see them hovering at the streets as a beggar? No, absolutely. Disabled children have their own rights to study. In other words, they have reasonable intelligence and adequate opportunity to learn as well as normal people. We cannot judge and prevent them to continue their studies just because they have lack of Intelligence Quotient (IQ). From school learning, they are able to get the chance to achieve the level of academic competence even with low achievement.

There are 13 categories represent the disabled children who are entitled to special education under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) mainly specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, mental retardation, serious emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, hearing impairment, deafness, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, visual impairment or blindness, autism, traumatic brain injury and deaf-blindness. The third reason is they will have opportunity to develop their disabilities. For instance, children with speech disorder may have speech therapy in their school in which leads to improvement in functional communication skills. Besides, children that are blind can practice themselves using Braille system thus can express themselves in writing.

The next, school is important in helping disabled children to build their self-esteem and encourage them to be more independent. They can create new relationship with other students as friends when working in a task as a team or group given by the teachers in school. From this, they can receive assistance on challenging material. This may benefit them to create and to raise-up their confidence level in order to face the real lifestyle.

Moreover, attending school not only to focus during their young but also when the getting older. School helps them to gain knowledge to get employed and job. Disabled children which graduated from school and pursue their studies will have chance to hold jobs and live on their own. Children with disabilities have greater probability of taking their place within a community work force if they had comprehensive vocational training during the school years. Work is important not only for financial incentives but also personal identity, status and contribution to the community.

Other than that, in school, they can be trained to implement structured behaviour modification programs to help a student gain skills of self-control. Basic skills such as reading with fluency need to learn by them as highly structured early intervention is effective at increasing most students’ ability to decode individual words rapidly and fluently. Schools also can facilitate the disabled children success in adult life. Schools are most effective in preparing children with disabilities for life as adults when there is an emphasis on the development of skills necessary to function in actual community settings, or the children participate in appropriate postsecondary programs. Lastly, disabled children go to school to obtain proficiency regarding academic skills.

Students with disabilities are an extremely heterogeneous group, varying by type and severity of disability, as well as by the many variables found in the population at large, such as income, family characteristics, temperament, and intelligence. This heterogeneity means that some students have highly specialized educational needs, such as sign language interpretation or occupational therapy. However, it is possible to make some generalizations about the most common characteristics and needs of students with disabilities as a group. There is no doubt that the needs of students with learning disabilities, including academic needs, can be met with inclusive practices. However, the skills required to implement such practices likely take time to develop. In addition, students with learning disabilities often benefit from direct skill instruction in individualized or small group settings. In conclusion, there are many reasons of disabled children to go to school.

Forensic Analysis of Semen using UV-Vis Spectroscopy


What is semen? It is one of body fluids which also known as seminal fluid that basically produced in male reproductive system. Semen is a jelly-like liquid which contains proteins and sugars, carries numerous amount of sperms or spermatozoa which generally appears in greyish-white bodily fluid. Semen contains DNA which vital in investigating sexual violence or rape.

Studies have shown that every 35 minutes woman has become a victim of raped cases in Malaysia, 107 seconds in United States and more worst in other countries such as India and Afghanistan. Three years ago, in December 16 of 2012, people shocked regarding most terrifying rape incident occurred in Delhi. An Indian student was violently raped by 6 men in a moving bus and died two weeks after the incident because of fatal internal injuries. It happened around 20:30 in which the woman of age 23 with a male friend boarded a bus after watching a movie in cinema.

Her male friend was beaten and tortured by those sadist men which then took turns not only to rape the woman but assaulted her. They are being thrown out of the bus 30 minutes later with unstable condition then admitted to the nearest hospital. This case was closed in 2014. All the men being arrested were found guilty. Four adults were sentenced to death, a juvenile defendant was given the maximum sentence of three years and another accused was died mysteriously in the jail during the trial. Thus obviously, rape cases that happen in nowhere has things to do with forensic analysis in justifying semen as important evidence of investigation.

When intercourse happens, semen can be found on the vaginal wall of the victim for a period of time. Besides, it can be found on clothing especially undergarments, bedding or some other areas. Yes semen can be observed through its colour by our naked eye yet not to confirm it. Therefore, there are several confirmatory tests to identify or analysis semen. UV-Vis Spectroscopy is responsible to detect the stains no matter in the darkness or daylight. Semen can be detected on different types of fabrics and colours. The semen will be differentiated from other fluids which visualized in blue light. When dealing with UV-Vis Spectroscopy, it shows the wavelength of range 320 to 700 nm and able to detect semen being stored in 3 to 5 weeks.

One of the most usual encountered body fluids during crime scenes is semen in which contains genetic materials. The analysis of semen need to run in order to solve the crime cases as long deliver correct evidence to the court. It is also vital in allowing the forensics to confirm and identify the absence of semen during the investigations.

As the point of view, this analysis by using UV-Vis Spectroscopy shows how educated the forensics are since they have ability to translate the art of Information Technology into Science. In the future, crime cases specially the raped cases or sexual assaults by people may be varied at times. The newly proposed presumptive method for semen stains has finally been invented called Lumatec Superlight 400 which works better. This analysis is important for forensic to analyse the actual data during investigations.

UV- Vis Spectroscopy is really helped in investigating crime cases. UV-Vis Spectroscopy uses light of visible ranges to detect certain fluids either by absorption or reflection of lights. Other bodily fluids such as saliva, sweats and urine can also be detected using this method. As conclusion, semen is really suitable run this method for an analysis of it absence confirmation.